In recognition of the size and diverse geography of Canada, and also the range of policy and commercial activities available in the various jurisdictions across Canada, BioFuelNet has established a set of regional platforms across Canada.
The West Platform
Based in British Columbia, the West Platform is focused on the use of biochemical conversion to maximize the production of advanced biofuels and associated bioproducts from forestry and agricultural residues, including materials like mountain pine beetle killed timber, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin and extractive components of biomass. The collection, densification, transport, pre-treatment and conversion of forestry feedstocks will be evaluated. Fast growing poplar and agricultural residues will also be assessed. The work will initially focus on developing a sugar platform, and then will build to carbon chains, starting with ethanol and other co-products.
The Prairies Platform
Based in Manitoba, the Prairie Platform is focused on bioconversion of agricultural residues using three microbial conversion processes (microalgae, oleaginous yeasts, and bacteria) for the production of drop-in biofuels. The prairie region of Canada contains abundant agricultural crop residues and agricultural processing by products of very low value. Of the various agricultural residues available in the Prairie region, wheat straw in particular has excellent potential as a feedstock for biofuel production because of its abundance and the lack of widespread use. Cattails will also be investigated as a biomass feedstock because of the huge production in the region.
The Central Platform
Based in Ontario, this platform is oriented around the thermal conversion of agricultural residues and municipal solid waste into fuels and high value bioproducts. It integrates pyrolysis and gasification conversion technologies into a biorefinery.
A key component of the Central Platform is the linkages with the petroleum and petrochemical industries based in the Sarnia Lambton region. The goals are to create new jobs and wealth, diverting wastes from landfills while “greening” the petroleum and petrochemical sectors.
The East Platform
Based in Quebec, this platform investigates thermal conversion of a wide range of feedstocks, with a focus on gasification and fractionation of biomass into fuel and high-value co-products. The East Platform is pursuing two biofuels pathways:
1) heterogeneous biomass gasification and syngas catalytic upgrading, and
2) quasi-homogeneous biomass fractionation and catalytic upgrading.
The East Platform occupies a strategic position in Canada with wide access to forest, agricultural and marine systems as well as a direct gateway to the European market and the American east coast.